Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rare Siam Banknotes on Smythe Auction

Manhattan, New York - March 13, 2008 - The R. M. Smythe & Company spring paper money auction on March 20th 2008 will offer 890 lots of paper money at their Manhattan office. One of the more interesting lots of world banknotes will be the specimens of Siam banknotes, in particular the 20, 80, and 100 Tical denominations, are believed to be the only examples know to exist. They once resided in a Paris museum, were purchased by a dealer 15 years ago for $90,000, and recently were owned by the President of the Thailand Numismatic Association.

Banque de l'Indo-Chine. Decree of 21.1.1875 and 20.2.1888. Bangkok.

1) 19.12.1898. 5 Ticals. P-S101. Specimen. Emerald green with printed date. Vignette on left depicting oriental woman holding bamboo shoot seated below "France" holding caduceus. Bank of France style of numeration with serial number 000 and block number 0.0. Value in English and French. Faux magenta watermark of woman. Two engraved signatures. Text in Chinese and Siamese overprinted in black on back. Impeccable condition. Uncirculated.

2) 5 Ticals. Specimen. Similar to first specimen but without date, zero numerals or faux watermark on front. Only one engraved signature. Overprint of Chinese and Siamese text absent from back, but Chinese text in the center is printed in emeral green with the rest of the back. Uncirculated.

3) 6.12.1898. 20 Ticals. P-S102. Brown with reclining Neptune holding trident at left. Back has black overprint in Chinese and Siamese. Zero numerals overprinted on front in black along with the magenta faux watermark. Two engraved signatures. Space left blank for handwritten or affixed signature for Le Caissierde l'Agence. Uncirculated.

4) 7.11.1898. 80 Ticals. P-S103. Light blue with two elephants at left and right pillars, two reclining women with a tiger and a water buffalo at lower center. Overprinting similar to that on the 20 Tical note, and signature block of Caissier de l'Agence left blank. Uncirculated.

5) 31.2.1898. 100 Ticals. P-S104. Red with Vasco de Gama at left and Polynesian man with paddle above dragon boat at right. Sailing ships at lower center. Overprintings similar to those in the previous three lots and signature area of Caissier de l'Agence left blank. Uncirculated.

With the authorization of the Ministry of the Colonies, the Bank of Indochina opened a branch bank in Bangkok on 22 February 1897. The printing of banknotes for use in Siam was first considered on April 27, 1897, and a series of four values (5, 20, 80 and 100 Ticals) adopted the design of the first series of notes issued for Indochine but with texts and colors modified. Each value has a different design, and there are various dates.

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